Miami HEAT at Dallas Mavericks Game Preview
The Miami HEAT face the Dallas Mavericks Monday night at AmericanAirlines Center. The HEAT defeated the Mavericks 113-101 in their last meeting on Dec. 22. Tip-off is set for 8:30 PM. Television coverage on FOX Sports Sun begins at 8:00 PM. You can also listen to the action live on 790 The Ticket.
1. What stood out to you the most in the HEAT’s victory over the Hornets on Saturday night?
Joe Beguiristain: While most will remember Josh Richardson’s eight-point fourth quarter and Wayne Ellington’s dagger three with 4.6 seconds left, the HEAT’s defense down the stretch really stood out to me.
Thanks to Richardson and Justise Winslow, the Hornets shot just 4-of-20 from the field in the fourth. Richardson put the clamps on Nicolas Batum, while Winslow did the same to Kemba Walker and forced him into some tough looks. Of course, Bam Adebayo also did his thing inside against Dwight Howard and defended well on the perimeter too.
All in all, it was good to see Miami respond to adversity and make enough plays late to come away with the win. That has become somewhat of a hallmark for this squad, as they never quit and lay it all on the line. Because of that, the HEAT are currently the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Alex Granado: That sometimes you've got to ride the hot hand and let it carry you to victory. The HEAT outscored the Hornets 54-30 in the final half, overcoming a 15-point deficit at one point thanks to a lineup consisting mostly of Richardson, Winslow, Adebayo, Ellington and James Johnson.
Also, how about Kelly Olynyk with the misdirection on the final play of the game to throw off Charlotte's defensive rotation? The big fella's fake handoff sent the Hornets front in to a confusion, opening up the lanes for a pass out to Winslow at the wing, who dished it on over to Ellington for the dagger three at the end of the shot clock. More and more we're seeing Olynyk's strengths play out on the floor, resulting in positive actions. The talented 7-footer continues to earn his place in the rotation thanks to moments like these.
2. What did we learn from Miami’s previous meeting with Dallas this season?
Joe: We learned that Dallas could shoot the heck out of the ball. In that last meeting with Miami on Dec. 22, the Mavericks shot 17-of-35 from downtown (48.6 percent) and were led by Dirk Nowitzki’s six made treys (of course).
While shooting that well from deep is insane, it’s bound to happen from time to time when you take as many threes as Dallas. Not only do the Mavericks rank in the top five in treys attempted per game (31.9), but they’re also second in the league behind the Rockets with 34.3 percent of their points coming from beyond the arc.
If it wasn’t for Ellington’s own barrage from deep against Dallas in the fourth quarter of that last matchup, perhaps Miami would have fallen short.
In other words, the Mavericks shouldn’t be taken lightly even though they’ve dropped six of seven and are just 16-34 on the year.
Alex: That the Mavs, despite their current 16-34 record, are still very capable of taking over a game and handing Miami a loss. Back when these two teams last played late in December, Dallas had three 20-point scorers - Yogi Ferrell scored 23, while Harrison Barnes and Nowitzki scored 20 each. As Joe mentioned above, they're trigger-happy from the perimeter too. The aforementioned trio combined for 12 of Dallas' 17 three's in the December matchup, and we should expect them to do much of the same Monday night.
Also, while he may not have led the team in scoring the first go around, Dennis Smith Jr. will impact this game one way or another. The rookie guard had seven assists in his first game against Miami, and has since scored in double figures for 14 straight games.
He's just one more weapon in the Mavericks' arsenal to keep an eye on.
3. Are there any matchups that you’re looking forward to Monday night?
Joe: I want to see how Adebayo follows up his strong outing against Dallas that last time out. In that previous meeting, the rookie had one of his better all-around performances with 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting, eight boards, five assists and a season-high plus-28 rating. Yes, plus-28.
On the flip side of the ball, it was really cool to see Adebayo defend a future Hall of Famer in Nowitzki and even Harrison Barnes on a handful of possessions.
Now with the former Kentucky Wildcat gaining more confidence with each passing game, it’ll be really interesting to see how he approaches the Mavericks this time around.
Although nothing is guaranteed, you can pretty much bank on Adebayo giving maximum effort on both ends of the floor from beginning to end.
Alex: I've already mentioned him above, but I'll be keeping an eye on Smith Jr. and whoever draws the defensive assignment on him Monday night - likely some combination of Dragić, Richardson and Tyler Johnson. I'm curious to see if he can extend his double-figure scoring streak to a 15th game, or if Miami's defense can lock him up and neutralize his attack.
Also, can Miami's perimeter defense stop the oncoming three-point barrage? Nowitzki, Ferrell, Wes Matthews and J.J. Barrea all shoot over 36% percent from deep, as well as others who are sure to have the green light to let it rain all night long.
Should be a fun matchup.
- The HEAT are currently the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference at 28-21.
- The Mavericks have dropped six of seven and enter the contest at 16-34.
- Over the past seven outings, Wayne Ellington has led Miami with 16.7 points per game on 42 percent shooting from downtown.
- Harrison Barnes leads Dallas in points (18.4) and rebounds (6.8) per game.
- HEAT Offense: 103.2 (25)
- HEAT Defense: 104.4 (7)
- Mavericks Offense: 104.5 (17)
- Mavericks Defense: 106.7 (21)